When Christ is lifted upon the Cross, dearly beloved, let not that sight be before your eyes that was before the eyes of the wicked, of which it was said through Moses: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life. For in the crucified Lord they were able to find nothing but their own wickedness, and they feared greatly, not with that fear which cometh by true faith, but with that fear with which an evil conscience is tormented.
But our understanding, which is enlightened by the spirit of truth, discerns with a pure and open heart the glory of the Cross as it shines upon heaven and earth; and it perceives with an inward glance what our Lord meant, when, as his Passion was drawing near, he said: Now is the judgement of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. O wondrous power of the Cross! O ineffable glory of the Passion, wherein is the judgement-seat of the Lord, the judgement of the world, and the power of the Crucified! Lord, thou didst draw all things unto thyself, and when all day long thou didst spread forth thy hands unto a disobedient and gain-saying people, the who world saw that thy majesty was to be acknowledged.
Lord, thou didst draw all things unto thyself, when, in abhorrence of the Jews’ crime, all the elements passed sentence: when the light of heaven was darkened, and day was turned into night, when the earth was moved, and all creation refused to serve the wicked. Lord, thou didst draw all things unto thyself, for the veil of the temple was rent, the Holy of Holies recoiled from unworthy priests; that the type might be changed into the reality, prophecy into manifestation, and the Law into the Gospel.
Lord, thou didst draw all things unto thyself, that what had been hidden in the one Jewish temple under shadows and symbols might be clearly and openly celebrated everywhere through the devout worship of all nations. For now the order of Levites is more illustrious, and the honour of the elders is greater, and the anointing of priests is more sacred: because thy Cross is the fount of all blessings, the cause of all grace; through which is given to those that believe strength for weakness, glory for shame, life for death. Moreover, the various carnal sacrifices have now come to an end, the one oblation of thy Body and Blood fulfils all forms of sacrifice: for thou art the Lamb of God that takest away the sin of the world; and thus in thee all mysteries are consummated, that, as there is one sacrifice for many victims, so may there be one Kingdom for all nations.
- Pope St Leo the Great, Sermon 59: On the Lord’s Passion